Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch visited Drexel University on Thursday, Oct. 30 to announce a $2.5 million award from the Commonwealth to support the “Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan.” The plan represents one of the best opportunities in the region for re-envisioning rail and transit services and supporting transportation-oriented development for urban transformation and growth.
With the demand for passenger rail continuing to rise coupled with the increasing commercial growth of West Philadelphia, principal stakeholders Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University and SEPTA together with a host of area stakeholders are embarking on a joint planning effort for the 30th Street Station district.
The plan’s objective is to formulate a vision for the 30th Street Station district that addresses current conditions within the existing station, identifies commercial development opportunities including the potential development of air rights above the rail yards, and creates the long-term capacity for trains, passenger and connecting modes to accommodate the anticipated growth in services and demand.
“On behalf of all our partners I want to express our deep gratitude to Secretary Schoch, the Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “The 30th Street Station District Plan will unfold over decades to come, but when future generations stand here and look out at the new heart of Philadelphia, they’ll be able to pinpoint today as a critical moment in its development.
Joining Schoch and Fry at the announcement were Stephen Gardner, Amtrak vice president, NEC Infrastructure & Investment Development; Jerry Sweeney, president, CEO and trustee of Brandywine Realty Trust and Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA deputy general manager.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), in association with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN and HR&A Advisors is developing the District Plan. The process launched in summer of 2014 with completion expected by late 2016. Opportunities for public involvement will be advertised. The District Plan is now funded by the Commonwealth in addition to Drexel and Brandywine Realty Trust. Amtrak is overseeing the project team and managing coordination among the various stakeholders.